Newcastle will try to get off to a good start in their Europa League group tonight, when they take on Maritimo in Madeira at 6:00 pm Newcastle time. Madeira is of course famous for cake and wine, and they go well together, along with a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale. 😀
Alan Pardew has left both Senegal strikers Ba and Cisse behind, with Papiss Cisse said to have a virus, and French internationals Yohan Cabaye and Ben Arfa are also not in the squad.
This is Ben Arfa’s final game of a three match suspension he picked up when he was at Marseilles in early 2010.
And of course we have injuries to Ryan Taylor, Danny Simpson, Fab Coloccini and Tim Krul, so that’s quite a lot of experienced players not in the squad tonight.
This is the 19 man squad that made the trip yesterday:
Mehdi Abeid, Romain Amalfitano, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi, Vurnon Anita, Gael Bigirimana, Adam Campbell, Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Dan Gosling, Steve Harper, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, James Perch, Davide Santon, James Tavernier, Steven Taylor, Haris Vuckic, Mike Williamson
And it’s anybody’s guess what the starting eleven will be, but we expect the team to be something like this:
Perch Williamson Taylor(S) Ferguson
Obertan Bigirimana Anita Amalfitano
Ameobi (Sh) Vuckic
Subs: Elliot Santon Tavernier Abeid Campbell Gosling Ameobi (Sa)
Shola Ameobi will wear the captain’s armband tonight, and could be an important player too, as he looks to be in top form with Alan Pardew saying he’s looked terrific in training.
There could be some changes to that team with Tavernier, Dan Gosling and Sammy Ameobi possibly in the starting line-up.
And we expect that 17 year-old Adam Campbell could see some playing time in the second half, and the local lad has been in outstanding form for the Newcastle U21 side this season.
The keys to the game are that Newcastle can be solid in defense, and especially against the Maritimo set-plays – which are apparently very good.
And that we can put the ball in the net, and we’ll look initially to Shola Ameobi and Haris Vuckic to do that, and of course Haris scored the winning goal at home to Atromitos, which got Newcastle into the group stages of the competition.
Both clubs finished in 5th place in their respective leagues last season, and Alan Pardew made it clear at his press conference yesterday, that the Premier League was Newcastle’s biggest priority this season – how many time have we head that one – but that he would pick a team that could win this game.
And at the end of the press conference, Alan was asked if he was going for the win and Alan said this – which is almost like poetry:
“We always come to win – we are Newcastle United.”
Let’s hope we can indeed get the win and all 3 points tonight.
Let us know how you think we’ll fare tonight, and what you think the team will be.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org
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